Background: The purpose of this study was to estimate operative risk, and to identify indicators of adverse prognosis, in patients undergoing pneumonectomy for chronic infection.
Methods: Twenty-five patients aged 41 +/- 15 years underwent pneumonectomy (three completions) for chronic infection: sequelae of tuberculosis, 15; cystic bronchiectasis, 9; and radiation pneumonitis, 1. Eight patients had aspergilloma (7 after tuberculosis, 1 with radiation pneumonitis).
Results: Operative mortality was 4%. Operative blood loss was estimated at 1,983 +/- 1,424 mL, ranging from 150 to 5,600 mL. A single patient required reexploration. Eight patients (32%) had empyema, and a further 3 (12%) had bronchopleural fistula; thoracoplasty was required for 10 (40%). Sequelae of tuberculosis heralded increased operative bleeding (t = 2.884; p < 0.005). Incidence of empyema or bronchopleural fistula was increased in patients with sequelae of tuberculosis (chi 2 = 3.896; p < 0.05), patients with aspergilloma (chi 2 = 4.588; p < 0.05), patients in whom the parenchymal cavities were entered (chi 2 = 11.5; p < 0.001), and those in whom blood loss was in excess of 1,000 mL (chi 2 = 4.911; p < 0.05).
Conclusions: We conclude that pneumonectomy is a high-risk procedure, especially in patients with sequelae of tuberculosis.